Fixed on the future, Summit County mayors proclaim new year’s resolutions
Ryan Summerlin December 31, 2012
The new year offers a time of reflection, looking back over past accomplishments and mistakes, as well as a blank slate stretching out into the future, ready to be filled with plans and deeds. Just like their residents, the towns of Summit County are taking a look back over the happenings of 2012 while at the same time looking ahead into the next year.
The towns dealt with a variety of issues throughout 2012, some old, some new. Breckenridge wrestled with questions over the proposed Peak 6 expansion as well as coming up with a master plan for the future of the Riverwalk Center and the Tiger Dredge Lot. A positive economic turn came as a pleasant surprise.
“We did have some concerns going into 2012 that the economy was going to continue to remain flat or perhaps go in a negative direction,” said Breckenridge Mayor John Warner. “In fact, the economy surprised us. … It has finished up very strong. … We came in with lower financial expenditures than we planned on and higher revenues than we planned on.”
The Breckenridge Town Council received three new council members in April – Ben Brewer, Gary Gallagher and Wendy Wolfe.
Dillon also saw some changes, with former police chief Joe Wray accepting a new position as the town manager, and the appointing of Steven Neumeyer as the next police chief.
“(It) was huge for us,” said Dillon Mayor Ron Holland. “We’re very happy with the way that result turned out.”
Holland said that 2012 was a positive year for Dillon with its work on the latest phase in the marina master plan. The town encountered some resistance from citizens regarding plans for changes to town park and took a step back to reformulate its master plan, which the town council plans to outline in a step-by-step process with opportunities for public input throughout.
Silverthorne also dealt with a matter of strong public opinion – the issue of the unfinished segment of the Blue River Trail – a paved recpath that stirred up some controversy between the town and several landowners.
Financially, the town is recovering slowly, said Silverthorne Mayor Dave Koop.
“We’re slowly pulling ourselves up from 2008,” Koop said. “We’re not where we used to be, but I’m not sure I’d want to be in that overheated upward spiral. I’d rather have more reliable, sustainable growth which is easier to deal with and easier to make changes.”
Frisco dealt closely with drought issues in 2012, including banning its Fourth of July fireworks due to high fire danger levels.
“The drought was definitely on our minds through a lot of the summer,” said Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson.
Bright spots in 2012 included construction and lots of moving forward. Dillon went forward with a plan to spruce up its marina, including leveling and increasing its parking lot and improving a nearby recpath.
“The second phase of the Dillon Marina Master Plan was a huge project,” Holland said. “That’s exciting for Dillon and puts us one step closer to having the world-class marina that we wanted.”
Frisco was proud of its steady financials.
“We maintained our financial standing, our budget,” said Wilkinson. “Revenues were ahead of projections.”
In Breckenridge, Warner was pleased with the purchase of a wedge of property on the northern side of Cucumber Gulch that connects two other pieces of property which the town wishes to preserve.
“It’s something that I’ve been involved with since 1997,” Warner said. “In 2012 we were able to buy the wedge and that completes a very good wildlife corridor from the north coming down out of peaks 5, 6 and 7 into the reserve. It’s a great large mammal corridor … and I think it’s a crowning achievement.”
Breck also launched a new public engagement tool in the form of a website – www.engagebreckenridge.com.
Silverthorne completed its new entrance park, River’s Edge Trail, located directly north of the Wildernest and Highway 9 intersection.
“The entry park is a real good example of community getting together,” Koop said. “It’s one of those nice little things that continually upgrades Silverthorne.”
With 2012 behind them, officials are now turning their focus on the future. Each town is beginning to look ahead to the projects and discussions of 2013.
“I’d like to see the steady improvements (in town),” said Koop, of Silverthorne, which will be reviewing its town comprehensive plan and land use schedule. “We try to make Silverthorne a place where a business could start up and be successful. … I want to keep it a great place to live and recreate, and give everybody the opportunity to enjoy the place. “
Breckenridge also has improvements in mind.
“No. 1, I’d like to see us achieve some sort of plan to do single-use bag consumption,” said Warner. “I’d like to continue to strengthen our sustainability message through bicycling, through the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, to maintain our bicycle-friendly community status. I’d love to move forward on rent-affordable housing, perhaps the design phase. I’d like to be well into the construction phase and renovation phase of the Harris Street building for the library and community center.”
Holland expects good things for Dillon in the new year.
“2013 is probably going to be a pivotal year for the town of Dillon,” Holland said. “We’ve been very lucky this year with our sales tax increases and just want to make sure we put programs in place and steady our businesses to keep that going. … Our economic development team … is working really hard to make things start gelling and it’s going to be great for everyone.”
Frisco is maintaining a hopeful outlook, while keeping an eye on the weather and the incoming visitors.
“I think the weather (is important) and the big question mark is how the construction at the Twin Tunnels is going to affect tourism,” said Wilkinson. A big moment for Frisco in 2013 will be the opening of Whole Foods near the transit center.
“That’s definitely a benchmark for the community to see that come in and reinforce Frisco as a regional center for retail,” Wilkinson said. “We’re looking forward to a nice healthy economy and a healthy environment. Frisco’s a great place to live, to visit, to work in. We just want to maintain that quality of unique charm and character.”